Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy 85th Birthday Marilyn Monroe

From Wikipedia.

The late great Marilyn Monroe was one of the great sex goddesses of the modern era. Her 85th birthday is June 1, 2011.

Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jean Mortenson (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, singer and model.

After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946.

Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950) were well received.

By 1953, Monroe had progressed to leading roles.

Her "dumb blonde" persona was used to comedic effect in such films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How To Marry A Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955).

Limited by typecasting, Monroe studied at the Actors Studio to broaden her range, and her dramatic performance in Bus Stop (1956) was hailed by critics, and she received a Golden Globe nomination.

Her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, released The Prince And The Showgirl (1957), for which she received a BAFTA Award nomination and won a David Di Donatello Award.

She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959).

The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with.

The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture.

Though officially classified as a "probable suicide", the possibility of an accidental overdose, as well as the possibility of homicide, have not been ruled out.

In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

In the years and decades following her death, Monroe has often been cited as a pop and cultural icon as well as an eminent American sex symbol.

Monroe was born in the Los Angeles County Hospital, the third child of Gladys Pearl Baker (May 27, 1902 – March 11, 1984).

Monroe's birth certificate names her father as Martin Edward Mortensen.

Baker had married Mortensen in 1924, but they had separated before Gladys' pregnancy.

Throughout her life, Monroe denied that Mortensen was her father.

She said that she had been shown a photograph of a man that Gladys identified as her father, Charles Stanley Gifford.

Gladys was mentally unstable and financially unable to care for the young Norma Jean, so she placed her with foster parents Albert and Ida Bolender of Hawthorne, California, where she lived until she was seven.

While living with the Bolenders, an unusual incident occurred.

One day, Gladys came to the Bolenders and demanded that Norma Jean be released back into her care.

Ida knew that Gladys was unstable at that time and insisted that this situation would not benefit Norma Jean.

Unwilling to cooperate, Gladys managed to pull Ida into the yard while she ran inside the house, locking the door behind her.

After several minutes, Gladys walked out of the front door with one of Albert Bolender's military duffel bags.

To Ida's horror, Gladys had stuffed the now screaming Norma Jean inside the bag, zipped it up, and proceeded to leave the house. Ida charged towards Gladys and the quarrel resulted in the bag splitting open.

Norma Jean fell out and began weeping loudly as Ida grabbed her and pulled her back inside the house, away from Gladys.

In 1933, Gladys bought a house and brought Norma Jean to live with her.

A few months after moving in, Gladys suffered a mental breakdown.

Norma Jean was declared a ward of the state, and Gladys' best friend, Grace McKee, became her guardian.

It was Grace who had told Monroe that someday she would become a movie star.

Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow.

Grace married Ervin Goddard in 1935, and nine-year-old Norma Jean was sent to the Los Angeles Orphans Home (later renamed Hollygrove).

In 1937, Grace took Norma Jean back to live with her, Goddard, and one of Goddard's daughters from a previous marriage.

This arrangement did not last for long, as Goddard attempted on several occasions to sexually assault her.

Disturbed by this, Grace sent her to live with her great-aunt, Olive Brunings in Compton, California.

This arrangement also did not last long, as 12-year-old Norma Jean was assaulted (sexually) by one of Olive's sons.

In early 1938, Grace sent her to live with yet another one of her aunts, Ana Lower, who lived in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles.

The time with Lower provided the young Norma Jean with one of the few stable periods in her life.

By 1942, the elderly Lower developed serious health problems, and thus Norma Jean went back to live with the Goddards.

While attending Van Nuys High School, she met a neighbour's son, James Dougherty and began a relationship with him.

They got married that year.

In 1943, with World War II raging, he enlisted in the Merchant Marine and was shipped out to the Pacific.

Norma Jean found employment in the Radioplane Munitions Factory. She sprayed airplane parts with fire retardant and inspected parachutes.

During this time, Army photographer David Conover snapped a photograph of her for a Yank magazine article.

He encouraged her to apply to The Blue Book Modeling Agency.

She signed with the agency and began researching the work of Jean Harlow and Lana Turner.

She was told that they were looking for models with lighter hair, so Norma Jean bleached her brunette hair to a golden blonde.

Norma Jean became one of Blue Book's most successful models, appearing on dozens of magazine covers.

Jim Dougherty was oblivious of his wife's new job until he discovered one of his shipmates admiring a revealing photo of Norma Jean in a magazine.

Dougherty corresponded with her via several letters stating that once he returned from service, she would have to give up her modeling.

A dissatisfied Norma Jean, who now saw the possibilities of a modeling and acting career, decided then to divorce Dougherty.

The marriage ended when he returned from overseas in 1946.

Her successful modeling career brought her to the attention of Ben Lyon, a 20th Century Fox executive, who arranged a screen test.

Lyon was impressed and commented, "It's Jean Harlow all over again."

Lyon did not like the name Norma Jean and chose Marilyn Monroe (Monroe is her mother's maiden name) for Norma Jean.

Marilyn Monroe's first movie role was an uncredited role as a telephone operator in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim in 1947.

She won a brief role that year in Dangerous Years and extra appearances in Green Grass Of Wyoming and You Were Meant For Me.

In 1948, Monroe signed a contract with Columbia Pictures and was introduced to the studio's head drama coach Natasha Lytess, who became her acting coach for several years.

She starred in the low-budget musical Ladies Of The Chorus.

She had a small role in the Marx Brothers film Love Happy (1949).

Love Happy brought Monroe to the attention of the talent agent, Johnny Hyde, who arranged for her to audition for John Huston's drama The Asphalt Jungle, playing the young mistress of an aging criminal.

Her performance brought strong reviews and was seen by the writer and director, Joseph Mankiewicz.

He accepted Hyde's suggestion of Monroe for a small comedic role in All About Eve as Miss Caswell, an aspiring actress.

Monroe enrolled at UCLA in 1951 where she studied literature and art appreciation, and appeared in several minor films playing opposite long-established performers as Mickey Rooney, Constance Bennett, June Allyson, Dick Powell and Claudette Colbert.

In 1951, she appeared as a presenter at the 23rd Academy Awards.

In 1952, Monroe appeared on the cover of Look magazine.

In March 1952, Monroe faced a possible scandal when one of her nude photos from a 1949 session with photographer Tom Kelley was featured in a calendar.

The press speculated about the identity of the anonymous model and commented that she closely resembled Monroe.

As the studio discussed how to deal with the problem, Monroe suggested that she should simply admit that she had posed for the photograph but emphasised that she had done so only because she had no money to pay her rent.

She gave an interview in which she discussed the circumstances that led to her posing for the photographs, and the resulting publicity elicited a degree of sympathy for her plight as a struggling actress.

She made her first appearance on the cover of Life magazine in April 1952, where she was described as "The Talk Of Hollywood".

Stories of her childhood and upbringing portrayed her in a sympathetic light.

It was during this time that she began dating baseball player Joe DiMaggio. They were married in 1954.

Four films in which Monroe featured were released in 1952.

First, Clash By Night, a Barbara Stanwyck drama, directed by Fritz Lang. It was favourably received by critics.

Next came We're Not Married!, Don't Bother To Knock and Monkey Business.

Darryl F. Zanuck cast her in Niagara, as a femme fatale scheming to murder her husband, played by Joseph Cotten.

Her next film in 1953 was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-starring Jane Russell and directed by Howard Hawks.

This was followed by How To Marry A Millionaire, River Of No Return and There's No Business Like Show Business.

In 1954, shortly after There's No Business Like Show Business, she starred in The Seven Year Itch.

Not long after the film, she and DiMaggio were divorced.

In 1955, Monroe dated playwright Arthur Miller. She studied at the Actors Studio, and befriended actors Kevin McCarthy and Eli Wallach.

In Bus Stop, Monroe played Cherie, a saloon singer with little talent who falls in love with a cowboy, Beauregard "Bo" Decker, played by Don Murray.

She received a Golden Globe nomination.

She married Miller in 1956. A year later she co-starred with Lord Laurence Olivier in The Prince And The Showgirl. In 1959 came Some Like It Hot which earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

From 1959 onwards, Monroe became addicted to drugs. She became an ardent fan of the new United States President John F. Kennedy and had an affair with him.

Marilyn Monroe was found dead of a drug overdose at her home on August 5, 1962. The last person she spoke to was Kennedy. Many fans believe the CIA killed her in order to implicate Kennedy. She and Miller had been divorced in earlier that year.

She was buried on August 8, 1962 at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles.